A UN report leaked over the weekend claims that the Klos C weapons ship seized by Israel earlier this year indeed came from Iran, as Israel claimed – but that its weapons were destined for Sudan, not Gaza.
The report did not specify why the special UN panel investigating the matter concluded that the weapons were meant for rebel groups in Sudan, and not for Gaza Arab terrorists, as Israel believes.
The ship, which flew a Panamanian flag, carried dozens of B-302 missiles that have a range of up to 200 kilometers. Israel at the time called the capture a “game changer” in the effort to show the world Iran’s real intentions.
In March, IDF forces seized the Klos C in waters off the shores of Sudan. Israeli security forces traced the ship to Iran, which cooperated with Syria in dispatching the ship. Israeli intelligence sources said that the weapons, consisting of a load of advanced missiles, among others, were to be shipped to terror organizations in Gaza - offloaded in Sudan and then smuggled to Gaza through the Sinai.
The report, obtained by Reuters, says that in any event Iran was in violation of international sanctions against Tehran's shipping of weapons to anyone.
“The Panel finds that the manner of concealment in this case is consistent with several other cases reported to the (Security Council's Iran Sanctions) Committee and investigated by the Panel," the report, quoted by Reuters, said.
"The Panel concludes that the shipment of arms and related materiel found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran's obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747," referring to the UN arms embargo on Tehran.
Israel had also claimed that the weapons were manufactured in Syria, but the panel said it could not positively establish that allegation. No markings were identified on the rockets during the Panel's inspection that would have allowed confirmation of the Syrian origin of the rockets,” the report said.
The weapons carried by the Klos C were hidden in 20 containers among a much larger shipment of cement that had been loaded onto the ship when it docked at Umm Qasr in Iraq. The report said that it was clear what role, if any, Iraq played in the attempts to smuggle the weapons to the Red Sea.
Israeli officials have not commented on the report. Both Iran and the terrorist groups which operate in Gaza denied that they had any connection to the Klos C, the ship that the IDF intercepted and which was carrying weapons for Gaza.
"This was all made up in order to argue that we are terrorists and give justification for the continuation of the blockade,” Hamas spokesman Mushir Al-Masri said.